Was Gasa slain for sex?

The girlfriend of Durban tycoon Nhlanhla Gasa’s alleged killer says she is “shocked” to hear the father of her one-year-old child lived a secret life as another man’s lover.

Nosipho Ngwenya (27) says her life has been turned upside down by the arrest of Mbulelo Ntlauzana (25) for allegedly stabbing the politically connected Gasa to death last month.

Gasa is the father of TV host Noni Gasa and her sister Mbali, a beauty queen. “I’m so shocked by this. I don’t know what to do. Everything is upside down,” said Ngwenya yesterday.

Sources close to the investigation told City Press this week Ntlauzana had confessed to police and claimed he had stabbed Gasa 12 times.

Ntlauzana, who has not yet pleaded, will appear in the Durban Magistrates’ Court again on Tuesday.

Ntlauzana, who was arrested in Groutville last Saturday night, allegedly told police he was alone when he killed Gasa.

After stabbing the heavily built businessman to death, Ntlauzana allegedly dragged his body downstairs to the garage of Gasa’s luxury Umhlanga mansion and loaded it into the boot of his Jaguar.

He claims he then drove to Groutville with the dead man in the boot, stopping for drinks before dumping the corpse and setting the car alight.

“There was never any sign from Mbulelo that he could murder another person. I’m surprised by this,” his shocked girlfriend said yesterday.

“He wasn’t working, but he stayed with me most of the time. I read the newspaper today and saw the story about them being lovers. I can’t believe this,” she said.

“I’ve never even seen that man. I don’t know who he is.”

Ngwenya said she had last seen Ntlauzana, with whom she had worked at a north coast fast food outlet, the Saturday before Gasa was killed.

“There was no sign anything was wrong. The first I heard of this was when police came to me and asked me where Mbulelo was.”

She said she would not be at court when her lover appears on Tuesday.

Police had initially investigated claims that Gasa had been the victim of a political- or business-related hit.

They had also probed rumours that he may have been the victim of an extortion bid gone wrong. At this stage, they are understood to believe that Ntlauzana acted alone.

Ntlauzana’s former employer, who requested anonymity, said that while he had initially been an “excellent guy” with “great potential”, he had changed and was dismissed after a disciplinary hearing.

“He was having a party here. There are 50 staff, of which 43 are women. But maybe he did bat for the other team,” he said.

Gasa’s sexuality has been something of an open secret in Durban’s business circles since before his highly acrimonious divorce from his wife of 20 years, nurse-turned-businesswoman S’ne Gasa, in 2006.

At the time, word was that he had dumped his wife for another man. When news of his killing broke, speculation was rife that it was related to his clandestine sexuality.

Louis Seeco, the spokesperson for the Gasa family, confirmed that “some” of Gasa’s family members were “aware of” Ntlauzana but had never met him.

Gasa, who was involved in the Vulindlela Group, which bid for Durban’s Point Waterfront development in the mid-1990s, was a member of the Absa board and served on the boards of approximately 20 companies and forums.

He was a director of DigiCore Holdings, while his own company, Gasa and Associates, was involved in human resources and management consulting.

Seeco said: “The issue of Mr Gasa’s sexuality being in question has been a rumour around Durban for many years.

The family have never discussed Mr Gasa’s sexuality with him while he was alive.

“They know him as a father, a husband and a man who stood for a lot of good in the community of KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa.

“When the suspect appears in court on Tuesday we will know the contents of his confession. The family will then respond. Even if he was gay, they don’t have a problem with it.

“This is an enlightened family,” he added.

Seeco said the family did not believe Ntlauzana had acted alone, as the slightly built man would have had difficulty overpowering the more strongly built Gasa and loading his body into the boot of the Jaguar.

“If you stab somebody 12 times, surely there will be a sign of a struggle,” said Seeco.

“Mr Gasa would have fought. There should have been blood all over the place, but there wasn’t. How, too, did he manage to lift a person with Mr Gasa’s build?”

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